Turkey and human rights: in rags and tatters

Things are getting into a mess.

And it has just one reason:

The AKP started out as an actor for fundamental democratic change, challenging the oppressive state. But then they turned the tables, getting rid of and slamming people who called spade a spade and with whom they had joined forces; now, they are on their way integrating with the “core” or the deeper structures of the state – both in terms of philosophy and discourse.

What we are dealing with now is a state party that is moving towards the creation of a party state.

Gathering male village headmen at the “palace” in Beştepe, President Erdoğan started at some point to talk about Kobani and he made use of a strange metaphor, saying, “Today they” –meaning the Kurds– “are out there hopping and dancing with joy.”

He was being sarcastic while thousands of Kurds in Suruç wanted to cross the border back to their hometown, but were met with a feast of tear gas.

On top of that, Erdoğan gave an interview yesterday and clarified his position on Rojava:

“We don’t want another Iraq. What is this? Northern Iraq… And now let them create a Northern Syria! There is now way we can accept it.”

Then he bluntly said, addressing the HDP, “If you remain under the 10 percent threshold you will be left out of the peace talks.”

He is holding tight at the 10 percent election threshold, which is a classic of the September 12 military intervention.

“… For one thing, it is crucial for the stability of our country. There has never been a growth in periods of coalition governments; there were always downfalls. Likewise, our stability here at this stage lies in the 10 percent threshold.”

Now there you see the unbearable comfort of being a state party.

And you wouldn’t expect the appointed Prime Minister Davutoğlu to sit about, would you? So he attacked the Cumhuriyet daily, which dared publishing an interview with Celal Kara, prosecutor of the December 17 investigation. Apparently the Prime Minister forgot that true democracy’s –the democracy to which he used to be loyal– touchstone is to be accountable to the electorate.

But that was not enough for him. He described the Cumhuriyet daily as “You know, the paper that published the cartoons insulting the venerable Prophet,” and raised the standard:

“This is the alliance we are struggling with. All forces of evil, hand in hand!”

It’s like we are on a journey with a flying carpet!

You may not like their interpretive line, but one of the most established and independent member of our press is condemned for an excellent piece of journalism, and in the meantime, the AKP government’s disastrous actions is being bitterly criticized by 20 of the 54 countries taking part in the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review meeting in Geneva.

The X-ray image is wretched

Participatory countries list their criticisms within boundaries of diplomatic courtesy:

· Freedoms of expression are in danger.

· There is huge pressure on the media; self-censorship is rampant.

· The Internet is suffocating.

· Rights of assembly and demonstrations are in ruin.

· The police have vicious ways of using disproportionate force; they are violent.

· Thousand of children are working in unregulated mines.

· There is no right of conscientious objection.

· Judicial independence is about to come to an end.

· There is a slide towards unity of power.

· Child marriages and the killing of women still continue.

· Minority and LGBT rights are not observed.

· Etc.

In the face of which Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınçmakes a hilarious defense. One wonders “ whether a minister assigned by the military regime of September 12 is talking”…

An NGO member with whom we were watching the meeting makes a joke, saying, “It makes you think of Alice’s Wonderland, it makes you want to move there.”

Arınç thinks everything is okay. He thinks the media is pluralistic; LGBTs, women and children are fully safeguarded; and there are no minorities other than those determined by the Lausanne Treaty! Police helmets have numbers on them in case they use disproportionate force! Twitter and stuff have been blocked “as a measure of last resort,” lest personal rights be violated! In Turkey there has never been an issue of anti-Semitism and the like!

As the bitter parody goes on, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey calls for the revoke of the Domestic Security Package sent to the Parliament. The Foundation states that the package is, “Beyond totalitarianism: It is tyranny, a mode of rule seen in pre-modern times.”

The AKP is now a state party.

This is no joke.

Things are getting into a mess.

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar 39 yıllık gazeteci. Mesleğe İsveç Radyosu'nda muhabir olarak başladı, oradan TV ve yazılı basına geçti. Sırasıyla Cumhuriyet İsveç muhabirliği, BBC Türkçe Servisi'nde yapımcı-sunuculuk, Yeni Yüzyıl'da dış haberler servis şefliği, Milliyet'te editörlük yaptı. 1999 yılı başında Milliyet Okur Temsilcisi olarak, medyada kurumsal bir 'özdenetim' yapısı olan ombudsmanlığı Türkiye'ye tanıtan ve ilk uygulayan kişi oldu. Bu görevi Milliyet ardından Sabah'ta da sürdürdü. Toplam 15 yıl süren bu görevi nedeniyle dünyanın en kıdemli ve 'uzman' ombudsmanlarından biri sayılıyor. Baydar, merkezi ABD'de bulunan Dünya Medya Ombudsmanları Örgütü'nde (ONO) başkanlık ve yürütme kurulu üyeliğini de üstlendi. Türkiye'ye döndüğü 1990'lı yılların ortasından bu yana çeşitli TV kanallarında başta Soru-Cevap olmak üzere çok sayıda analiz-tartışma programını hazırlayıp sunmuş olan Baydar, düzenli olarak Süddeutsche Zeitung ve The Arab Weekly için yorumlar yazmakta. Baydar, Ocak 2014'te bir grup meslektaşı ile beraber medya bağımsızlığı ve özgürlüğü alanında çalışmalar yürütmek üzere Bağımsız Gazetecilik Platformu'nun (P24) kurucu üyeleri arasında yer aldı. 2000 yılında 'Okur Temsilcisi' olarak yaptığı çalışmalar nedeniyle Çağdaş Gazeteciler Derneği'nin (ÇGD) Özel Ödülü'ne layık bulunan Baydar, 2014 yılında da, Avrupa'nın 'Pulitzer'i sayılan Avrupa Basın Ödülü'nü (EPP) 'meslekte mükemmeliyet' tanımlamasıyla aldı. 2004'te Michigan Üniversitesi'nde Knight-Wallace Araştırma Bursu ile 'Ortadoğu, demokrasi ve medya' konulu mesleki çalışmalar yapan Baydar, 2014 sonbaharında da Harvard Üniversitesi'ne bağlı Kennedy School'da 'Shorenstein Fellow' olarak Türkiye medyasında sansürün ve mali yozlaşmanın yayılmasını ele alan uzun bir rapor yayınladı. Baydar ayrıca Guardian, El Pais, New York Times gibi gazetelere de aralıklı olarak yorum ve analiz makaleleri yazıyor.
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